steam engine need help!

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joe36
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steam engine need help!

Post by joe36 » Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:59 pm

This is my first post and admittedly I am very deficient in steam design practice.
I am planing on a first time build. As of now the thoughts are something in the 2 too 5 HP. Range. After reading considerable on this forum along with what I could find. My original thoughts are probably a bit of over board.

Cylinder, original thought is to use a piece of seamless 6 inch steel tubing bored to 4 inch, turned 1 1/4 inch end caps with a 3/8, 12 bolt pattern on each end. The end result is intended to be a 4 inch bore with an approximate 4 inch stroke.

This would be bolted to a 5 inch OD schedule 40 pipe. In one end of the pipe would be a turned slug that bolts to the cylinder with a 6 bolt pattern 1 inch thick slug with a tapered Garlock compression seal, tolerance?

Next in the pipe would be 2, 1 inch slugs with bronze bushings and oilers spaced 4 inches C to C this portion keeps the cylinder, rod and the piston in line.

The piston, pipe, rod assembly would be bolted to ½ inch plate.

Please advise me on if this is sound thinking. I do have the equipment and experience to accomplis this but of corse do not want to make mistakes that have such potential to be very hazardous.

I will have many questions in the future especially concerning internal parts and casting alloys.
I do plan on casting some of the parts.

Thank you in advance from a green amateur!

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FLSTEAM
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Re: steam engine need help!

Post by FLSTEAM » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:40 am

First off Joe where are you from? That will help locate a club near you that can point you in the right directions.

John B.
http://www.ngshay.com/
Shay drawings and castings

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Pipescs
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Re: steam engine need help!

Post by Pipescs » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:57 am

So this is to be a stationary engine?
Charlie Pipes
USMC Retired

Current Projects:

2.5 Baldwin 2-4-2/2-4-4/0-4-4 Conversion (What ever)
Little Engines American Restoration
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Pipescs
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Re: steam engine need help!

Post by Pipescs » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:05 am

As you admit to being a rank beginner, and I can relate to this" you have come to the right place.

My recommendation would be to start with a known design that is well documented to run.

Here is an example that you can find on line that has been out there for many years.

http://www.stuartmodels.com/item/109/st ... unmachined

Also, in any direction you go, look at the YouTube site of Keith Appleton,

https://www.youtube.com/user/keithapple ... _polymer=1

He has done hundreds of videos on the building and restoration of Stationary engines.
Charlie Pipes
USMC Retired

Current Projects:

2.5 Baldwin 2-4-2/2-4-4/0-4-4 Conversion (What ever)
Little Engines American Restoration
Bobber Caboose

joe36
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Re: steam engine need help!

Post by joe36 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:28 pm

Greatest of thanks to those who have replied. I am in Logansport Indiana 46947 USA.
It will be a stationary engine similar in style to the Stuart A5 although 4 times larger.
I am quite impressed with the A5 but due to some available parts and the desire to build bigger. I will be building it a bit differently.

I have worked in industry all my adult life and had a fare amount of hydraulics experience over the years but never so much as even the slightest ventured in to steam. This is why I am very concerned with the safety issue.
After 25 years in industrial maintenance. I can still count to 10 on my fingers and have no colorful nick names such as Patch, Lefty, Hop along and so on.

This has been at the top of my list of for over 20 years however life and family has always pushed this project to the back burner. I am a bit surprised to read that 100 PSI appears to be common. Is this true? I was thinking that 100 PSI would be on the very low end?
If 100 PSI is standard or close. What cylinder wall thickness would you suggest? I had originally thought that 250 PSI running with a 300PSI relief valve would be what I might want? My hope is for 100 to 150 RPM.

I was looking at a bit of inventory tonight and as earlier mentioned parts on hand will influence the design. I have and plan on using for the pedestal a pair of cast iron shaper legs that if memory serves me right are 32 inches high and 20 inches wide at the base tapering up to 12 inches wide at the top. I have a good selection of plate steel up to ½ inch but nothing from ½ until 1 1/4 inch so the top of the pedestal and bearing stand will most likely be ½ with the bearing riser and being cage machine to match a 400 CI chevy crank. I have chosen the chevy crank as I have several to choose from and the fact the oil porting is already worked out. It will give me a throw of just under 4 inches. I will be asking a lot of questions in the coming months as to piston design and alloys. This will be a start and slow kind of project with the first couple of months just in the design and rough machining plus the parts collection stage.


Would a very rough estimate of 500 to 750 hours sound reasonable for a working no frills engine without a boiler?
I do apologize for the very un-learned questions.

Joe

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Re: steam engine need help!

Post by Glenn Brooks » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:53 pm

Joe, one thing that might help in your planning and research for your build is to read over your States’ boiler code. Many states have a hobby boiler section in the code that specifies boiler pressure requirements, max size of firebox, etc. Iam guessing 125 psi might be your target max pressure. Certainly there are much higher working pressures common to industrial applications. But unless you intend to put the engine into commercial work, the higher pressures aren’t necessary desireable, or necessary.

Let us know how things develope.

Glenn
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Motive power : 1902 A.S.Campbell 4-4-0 American - 12 5/8" gauge, 1955 Ottaway 4-4-0 American 12" gauge

Ahaha, Retirement: the good life - drifting endlessly on a Sea of projects....

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Greg_Lewis
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Re: steam engine need help!

Post by Greg_Lewis » Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:24 pm

Let's back up for a moment. Are you just building this for fun or do you have some specific end purpose for it? If you want it to do real work, I'd suggest you track down some books on steam technology. There is a lot more to it than what we might discuss here.

And as to boilers, I think an engine the size that you contemplate is going to need something much bigger than the hobby boilers Glenn mentions above. More than likely, you'll need to build to code and get it inspected and certified.

Finally, for reference, you might want to take a look at the Tiny Power engines. These are designed for real work in boats. Their drawings might be useful to you. https://squareup.com/store/tiny-power
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of non-interchangeable parts.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

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Dick_Morris
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Re: steam engine need help!

Post by Dick_Morris » Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:04 pm

Steel isn't the choice I would use for the cylinder bore, although you could use a cast iron liner.

Harold_V
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Re: steam engine need help!

Post by Harold_V » Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:39 am

I was thinking the same thing, Dick.
I had an interesting experience some 25 years ago. I was scouting for steam devices in the Western Colorado area, and found a 1909 Case 60 horse traction engine. It had been dismantled and stored out-of-doors on the edge of a rather large stream. Some of the gears had dropped in to the stream, but were recovered, albeit not all at the same time.

Anyway, my point is that the wheels were completely rusted away where they were in contact with earth (no less than 3/4" thick material), while all of the cast iron pieces were in relatively great condition, although surface rusted. Steel exposed to water doesn't fare well. It also lacks the lubricity provided by cast iron.

H
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steamin10
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Re: steam engine need help!

Post by steamin10 » Sun Dec 24, 2017 5:43 am

Joe. I have gone through the mental exercise of building a larger stationary engine, and here is what I think:

First see if you can come up with a broken putter that has most core parts. Cylinder flywheels and crank. Most putters got frozen and require heads that are just not around. Failing that, start with the idea of using cast sewer pipe in some form to make a liner that is cast iron. Automotive engine sleeves are easy to get in many sizes. Steel is a no-no and will sieze the first time you shut down with rust. A body of aluminum of automotive wheel material, can be cast at home. likewise, cast iron barbell wieghts can make your flywheels. A frame of heat formed pipe can be crafted with a good firepit and charcoal, coaxed with a hammer. a large round of a log makes for a good platform to beat on, and wiffle things in shape. it is just your eye and skill with a beater that will limit you. For a working model, a crank that is built up will suffice. Real work engine would be better forged. Converting a crank has its own problems, and automotive stuff will be short stroke and wrong incidence angles for good power at low rpm. Rods must be longer but can be machined and furnace brazed from con rods for length. Pistons can be recast from automotive piston stock. They can work very well.

Look at many of the plans you find online for the bore and stroke ratios and go with the proven proportions. Copying a proven design for your project is no sin, especially in a larger design. Having individual pieces cast would be pricey, and not real secure in blazing your own trail, as any mistakes can cost a lot in time and money.

While not for the faint of heart,I wont say it cant be done. It just needs some good study on the long worked out basics of steam design..I probably wont get to my pet large engine as I have too many interests already. Go get em.
Big Dave, former Millwright, Electrician, Environmental conditioning, and back yard Fixxit guy. Now retired, persuing boats, trains, and broken relics.
We have enough youth, how about a fountain of Smart. My computer beat me at chess, but not kickboxing
It is not getting caught in the rain, its learning to dance in it. People saying good morning, should have to prove it.

joe36
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Re: steam engine need help!

Post by joe36 » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:03 am

Again thank you!

The M series engine is very much like something I would be interested in. The suggestion on cast iron over steel is greatly appreciated as it will most assuredly save me a very both monetary and time mistake.

I was very lucky in my work to have had the chance to make many contacts in industry while doing service work in manufacturing plants in northern Indiana. I possibly can get some castings for very little if I do the mold and ramming myself. The only draw back will be that IF I still have the contacts I once had. Many have retired. They will be 75 + miles away and although a phone call might start the conversation. A Stake diner and an eye to eye conversation goes a long way.

As to weather the engine is to be a hobby or work. That is a bit of a gray area. I do want it to produce several HP although the end use is still undetermined. It is something that began as a child when I wanted a Weisco toy steam engine that I did not get until I was 30 when I bought one for my sone. By that time I was working in industrial maintenance and seriously thinking of a small table top. Long story short too many years later and not enough power from the past shows and here I set today.

On the boiler.
I do realize this will be an undertaking that will be on scale with the work required to build the engine. It should be slightly less complex but attention to detail and material selection will reacquire much study before starting the first weld. This will be a project that will not be started until the engine is completed.
For now the initial thought is an estimate of a horizontal tube boiler with a fire box ID of 20-24 inches 50-60 inches tall with a 20 gallon water resolver but again this is just a first thought. I do know it will have to burn north of 150 LB. Of wood an hour.


At this time I think I should some I feel an introduction with a bit of history and capabilities of the present shop might be in order to best help with knowing what is left of our capabilities.
I was retired early from work due to health and injuries caused by old auto accidents, back and neck broken. Thankfully I still walk pace myself still get things accomplished. This only mentioned to explain the condition of the shop.

The shop
We bought out my father-in-law’s estate and combined what I had with his shop. For those of you who might be into sprint car racing. It is Darlands garage Lincoln Indiana. Home of Dave Darland race car driver.

We have 1600 foot finished under roof and another 400 unfinished hot room on the back.
1 large LaBlond Lath 19 X 110, 60s in good shape other than a thread counter that was damaged in the move.
A nice Wels Index mill ? 16 X 60 very tight no DRO 80s era.
A big stick welder several drill presses, torches grinders small belt sanders, finish belt sanders
A nice small forge late 1800 era. Very heavy benches and a heavy vice along with smaller ones.

Now the bad news.
Due to health at the time of retirement. Medical along with other expensive. We were forced to sell off some of our equipment. It will be a long time recovering both.

At one time we had a small green sand foundry, nothing fancy just 1 room with an electric furnace up to 70LB or so. The furnace is gone however this is no big lose as I was wanting to convert to gas and with the new shop we have a 1 inch line. Again the bad news is the foundry is in the pile of shed sorting Hell!

We no longer have a good vertical band saw but have a mediocre horizontal, around 5x5.
The Tig and Mig are gone. Our in-between lath is gone only leaving a very small table top Atlas and the LaBlond. Metal break and shear is gone, lath tooling is lacking.

The good news is my health has returned somewhat and I have resides myself to rebuilding the shop to full potential over the next couple of years.

Joe

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steamin10
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Re: steam engine need help!

Post by steamin10 » Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:34 pm

Any machines past a hammer and chisel will aid the future. With all that is available on fleabay and the like, lathe tooling can be garnered at will for each task. Buy what you need as it is needed. Dont load up with expense, just planning. Lean and mean, just in time. Most tooling can arrive by mail in 2 days. Barely enough for the coffee to cool.

I just hit a natural barrier with health this fall, and consider myself lucky. I am gaining strength again after a cardio incident. At 65 I have little time to waste. I look around and wonder how I had time to go to work. i am slowing down, so everything must be measured and paced.

I have a 15 inch flt belter SB lathe, and the 9 inch sb school lathe that does most of my work, and now two 6 inch flat belters. I will sell the older 6 this spring but they are both select gear. Too many machines and not enough building. I have 1500 dry cement block but a 19 x 22 garage with an annex on the rear. punch press and heavy band saw are in the rain along with a yard full of materials from last years fiasco with property. So, I am far enough behind, I think I am ahead. I will be working on lawn tractors and various equipment all winter to get in shape for spring. A McEnglevan furnace is being built up on a cart for the foundry, and I have a speedy melt for added capacity. A foundry setup with molding cabinet and Miti-mite muller feeds the pattern pool. I am gutting a file cabinet to hold the pattern boards free from harm, as many are damaged already. I just drug home a lateral file 3 drawer to replace a wood cabinet so things grow at their own pace. Free stuff on Craigs list always helps. I have the usual assortment of drill press and mill-drill junk for hobby guys so I get by. Tooling and accessories of course run more than the machines and never enough.
Big Dave, former Millwright, Electrician, Environmental conditioning, and back yard Fixxit guy. Now retired, persuing boats, trains, and broken relics.
We have enough youth, how about a fountain of Smart. My computer beat me at chess, but not kickboxing
It is not getting caught in the rain, its learning to dance in it. People saying good morning, should have to prove it.

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